Myanmar internet - something to think about if you're having a bad day

Eric Kuhnke eric.kuhnke at
Wed Apr 28 18:32:44 UTC 2021

None of them are a good option. In the specific case of Pakistan, the
periodic shutdowns and blockages have been 'moderate' enough, if that's an
appropriate word to use, that *most* of the time, Telenor's customers have
ordinary Internet service. Over the long run it is probably a benefit that
its customers have their LTE data services.

Within that specific example I should also note that there has been very
little effort put on a nation-wide scale to implement technology which can
do DPI and drop/blackholing of VPN traffic. Even though the Internet
traffic for the country runs through a few choke points, there does not
appear to be government-operated technical capability or the budget to
implement something on the scale of the great firewall.

There's plenty of non technical teenagers in Pakistan with VPN clients on
their phone or laptop who seem perfectly capable of using a VPN to watch
Youtube or access Twitter and other social media, during the periods of
time that the government orders things to be blocked.

Along with all feasible attempts at lobbying, I would propose a 4th
alternate to the scenarios outlined, which is to provide funding and
financial support (from a telecom's headquarters in Europe or the USA) for
civil society institutions and non-profits related to bypassing Internet
censorship, and lobbying against it. Such as the EFF, funding for the tor
project, supporting the work of various GPL/BSD licensed VPN technologies
(openvpn, wireguard, etc) and their continuing development, etc.

On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 11:03 AM Christopher Morrow <morrowc.lists at>

> (I'm sure i'll regret this, but...)
> On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 1:48 PM Eric Kuhnke <eric.kuhnke at> wrote:
>> It should be noted that Telenor has been one of the nationwide license
>> holders for 3GPP cellular bands in Pakistan for a long time, and has
>> encountered the same issues with regional network shutdowns, and government
>> orders to block certain netblocks or services.
>> Not to the same extent as what's going on right now in Myanmar, but
>> absolutely it meets the definition of what a (western European, North
>> American) person would consider to be unconscionable and unwarranted
>> government Internet censorship and interference with telecoms.
> So, what would be the correct set of actions here (for a company)?
> it sounds like some version of the proposal is:
>   "Pull up stakes, stop offering services in places that may/do impose
> 'draconian' methods of 'censorship'"
>      (note intentionally quoted draconian/censorship - I don't mean/want
> to put a value on those words)
> or perhaps:
>   "Lobby the gov't(s) in these situations to NOT do the things they keep
> doing"
> or finally:
>   "refuse to comply with requests/orders from govt(s) to do these things"
> I think the last is 'impractical', I expect the 1st is also a tough pill
> to swallow for a large multinational telcom... the middle may already be
> being done, but is unlikely to help.
> So, aside from: <waggy finger>you ought not do that!</waggy finger> from
> the sidelines... what should a responsible Corpo do?
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